Books I Read This Summer – Part 2

I hate to say this, but we didn’t have a great summer. Nothing really terrible happened – we’re fine. Everything’s fine. We just had some inconveniences and setbacks that made the season less than ideal. Our August vacation was cancelled due to my husband passing a kidney stone and we were potty training our stubborn 3-year-old to name just a few annoyances. Plus, it was just so damn hot and humid all the time.

On the bright side, because we spent so much time indoors over the past few months, I managed to get through a ton of books.

Here’s what I read this summer:

This is How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel

This was a really sweet, almost fairy-tale like story of a family navigating the unfamiliar terrain of raising a transgendered child. If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be nice. I’m not an expert, but I feel like childhood – before puberty hits would be the easiest time for a transgendered child and that’s where this story leaves you hanging.

The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

A woman in my book club recommended this one to me, assuring me that I would love it. She was so right.

In the midst of a plethora of personal issues, the heroine finds herself a witness to a school shooting and a defence lawyer, becomes involved in the investigation that followed. It’s a thriller told in a nonlinear style so the details of her past unfolds as the investigation progresses. It’s the kind of book that you need to clear an afternoon for because you won’t’ be able to put it down.

Love and Ruin – Paula McLean

Martha Gellhorn is a fascinating woman and it is such a shame that in the annuls of history she really only known as one of the Mrs Hemminways. This is a fictional account of her relationship with him. I loved The Paris Wife so my expectations were high for this one and I was a bit disappointed, although I can’t really explain why.

The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham

This was actually a re-read for me. I’ve always considered this one of my favourite books although I hadn’t read it in about 20 years. The result: I still love it.

Narrated by the author as himself, the story is of a man who returns from World War 1, with survivors guilt and a bit of shell shock who rejects his upper-class lifestyle in search of a greater meaning in his life.

It’s a masterpiece (in my humble opinion) and If you haven’t read this already and are a fan of The Great Gatsby you will love this.

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars is actually a young adult book but I’d heard enough good reviews about that I decided it would be worth a try.

Told from the perspective of a teenage girl suffering from memory loss due to trauma, she tries to piece together the summer she spent two years prior on her grandparents’ private island in Massachusets. There’s a plot twist that becomes fairly apparent as the story progresses but there’s still enough detail that is held back to keep you in suspense.

As a middle-aged adult, I liked it but I’m pretty sure 14-year-old Danielle’s mind would have been blown.

Someday, Someday Maybe – Lauren Graham

Yes, it’s written by THAT Lauren Graham and it was the name recognition that lured me into reading it. At the risk of sounding basic, I was a HUGE Gilmour Girls fan and you can obviously tell how big of a fan I was by the number of caps I’ve used here.

It was a cute semi-autobiographical account of a girl trying to get her acting career off the ground in the mid-1990s, so there are plenty of mentions of Doc Martins, payphones and Filofaxes. Overall, this was a nice beach type read and I really enjoyed it.

A Separate Peace – John Knowles

This is a story about a pair of high school seniors at a New Hampshire boarding school during the second world war. I think there was supposed to be some kind of moral lesson to be learned but I didn’t quite get it. While I love a good coming of age story against the backdrop of a world war type read, this one was pretty meh.

The Girls – Emma Cline

Not to be confused with the excellent identically titled book by Lori Lansens, this is a fictional tale of a cult similar to the Manson family told from the perspective of a now middle-aged woman. The narrator looks back on her misspent a summer at their ranch and it’s effect on her life afterwards. It was a good read although I felt that it was a tad incredulous at times.

Now it’s fall and the heat is less oppressive, my husband’s stone has pased and save for a few accidents, Little B is finished with diapers. I’m feeling good about the season ahead and especially looking forward to crisp cool mornings reading in front of the fireplace.

What are you reading this fall?

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